Lakers Notes: Davis, Vincent, Russell, Nuggets Matchup

After missing the final six minutes of the Lakers‘ victory over New Orleans on Sunday due to back spasms, star center Anthony Davis was able to play 40 minutes in Tuesday’s rematch with the Pelicans. The play-in tournament win secured the No. 7 seed in the West for L.A.

Davis said he was physically limited during Tuesday’s contest, as he was still experiencing the spasms, but he thinks the extra time off ahead of Saturday’s Game 1 in Denver will allow his back to heal, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

I think the way it affected me the most is just as far as moving, going to get offensive rebounds and things like that,” Davis said. “Just my presence at the rim, it was just tough. But we got it done. We got it done. And I have a couple days now to kind of get it back to normal and get ready for Saturday.

I feel like I’ll be 100 percent as far as the back come Saturday.”

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Gabe Vincent only appeared in seven regular season games in 2023/24 due to knee issues after signing a three-year, $33MM deal with the Lakers as a free agent last summer. However, he appears to be finding his rhythm entering the playoffs, writes Khobi Price of The Southern California New Group. Vincent finished with nine points (on 3-of-6 shooting), four rebounds and a steal in nearly 18 minutes on Tuesday. “Just his toughness, his grit, his ability to make shots,” head coach Darvin Ham said. “And like I said, that will come. As his legs get stronger and stronger underneath him, his shot-making will increase as well. He has this quiet toughness about himself. Whatever you need him to do, he’s gonna do it. He’s gonna make sure he executes it and starts with defense with him. The defense, diving on the floor, everything, he’s a hell of a competitor.”
  • In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, D’Angelo Russell said becoming a father in September 2022 helped him focus on the things that mattered most to him, both on and off the court.
  • McMenamin and Kevin Pelton of ESPN examine why the first-round series with the defending-champion Nuggets will be an “uphill battle” for the Lakers, writing that Denver’s frontcourt size and skill presents a unique issue for L.A. While many of their games have been close, the Nuggets have dominated in the clutch against the Lakers, going 8-0 in their last eight matchups, including last season’s sweep in the Western Conference Finals.
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